Indian Diplomacy in Action: Legal Team Explores Appeal Options for Detained Navy Officials in Qatar

Indian Ambassador Meets Detained Navy Officials in Qatar as Legal Battle Begins - Death Sentences Commuted, Focus Shifts to 60-Day Appeal Period.

New Delhi, India: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) revealed on Thursday that the Indian Ambassador to Qatar, along with embassy officials, has engaged with the eight detained veteran navy officials in Qatar. A legal team is actively exploring the appeal process as the detainees have a 60-day window to file an appeal, following a recent court verdict.

The eight Indian nationals have been held in Qatar since October 2022, facing accusations of allegedly spying on a submarine program. The retired naval personnel had initially received a death sentence from a Qatari court, a verdict that has now been commuted to jail terms by the Court of Appeal on December 28, 2023.

MEA official spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal addressed the media, stating, “Our ambassador, along with our embassy officials, met the eight detained. The legal team is looking into the appeal aspect. There are 60 days within which they have to file this appeal.”

The Court of Appeal’s decision to commute the death sentences marks a significant development in the Dahra Global case. The detailed judgment is still awaited, and the MEA is in close contact with the legal team in Qatar to determine the next steps.

Jaiswal emphasized the temporal significance of the 60-day appeal period, noting, “As far as the issue is concerned, there is a time of 60 days when this issue can be appealed in the Court of Cassation, which is the highest court in Qatar.”

The MEA’s legal team now possesses the confidential court order detailing the commutation of the death sentences to imprisonment terms. Jaiswal confirmed, “All of them have received sentences of different durations, and the death penalty has been abolished.”

The MEA, which has been providing consular and legal assistance since the onset of the matter, reaffirmed its commitment to standing by the detained individuals. The matter will continue to be raised with Qatari authorities to ensure the well-being and rights of the Indian nationals.

Moreover, the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad, during the COP28 summit in Dubai, included discussions on the overall bilateral relationship and the well-being of the Indian community in Qatar. The outcome of these discussions adds a diplomatic dimension to the ongoing legal proceedings, underscoring the multifaceted efforts being made to resolve the matter diplomatically.

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